The Memphis Grizzlies have missed the playoffs each of the last
four years, but they have their sights set on improving their
postseason position as the regular season draws to a close.
Memphis’ pursuit of a higher seed in the Western Conference
continues Wednesday night when it hosts the struggling Golden State
The Grizzlies (41-33) occupy eighth place in the West – two
games ahead of ninth-place Houston, but just two games in back of
sixth-place Portland and one behind seventh-place New Orleans. A
111-104 victory Sunday against NBA-leading San Antonio was Memphis’
fourth in five games, and may be an added boost of confidence down
The Grizzlies have gone 10-7 since losing Rudy Gay to
season-ending shoulder injury Feb. 15. Gay was averaging 19.8
points at the time of the injury, which happened the day key
reserve O.J. Mayo returned from a 10-game suspension for using a
Memphis continued to press forward, and is in position to make
the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
”To be a playoff team, you have to be tough. That’s requisite
number one,” forward Shane Battier said. ”I think we showed we
are a tough team. I would like to play a little smarter. That’s the
next step. But you have to have toughness, and there’s no doubt in
this team’s toughness.”
Zach Randolph recorded his 50th double-double of the season
against the Spurs, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Randolph is averaging a career-high 12.4 boards for the Grizzlies,
who held off San Antonio’s fourth-quarter surge.
”This just shows how far we’ve come,” Randolph said. ”Last
year, we probably would have let the game slip. We would have put
our heads down. This year, we just battle it out. We don’t put our
head down. We keep our heads up and continue to battle.”
Point guard Mike Conley has started all 74 games while averaging
a career-high 13.8 points. He had 18 points and 13 assists Nov. 3
in a 115-109 loss to Golden State, which will miss the playoffs for
the fourth straight season.
The Warriors (32-43) have lost seven of nine after falling
115-114 in overtime Tuesday against Oklahoma City.
Monta Ellis, who scored 39 points in the November victory
against Memphis, missed a jumper at the buzzer. He finished with 20
points on just 9 of 30 from the field and missed 12 shots in a row
at one point.
”Sometimes good players may struggle the whole game and they
have an ability to lock in late,” coach Keith Smart said. ”We
thought we got the right matchup.”
Stephen Curry scored a team-high 35 points, while David Lee
added 24 and 15 rebounds. Curry scored 26 points Nov. 26 in a
116-111 loss to the Grizzlies.
Golden State has allowed at least 100 points in its last nine
games, and is 29th in the NBA giving up 106.1 points per game.
Memphis is just 12-20 this season when scoring fewer than 100.
The Grizzlies have won four straight and nine of the last 12
against the Warriors in Memphis.